Wieden Wins Powerade Account

Wieden + Kennedy’s depth of experience handling such sports brands as Nike and ESPN helped it land Coke’s Powerade business last week, sources said.

The win comes as Coke gets ready to square off this summer against Gatorade, long the No. 1 brand in the sports-drink category. Pepsi takes ownership of Gatorade at the end of June; sources said a new Powerade campaign should break in July.

Coke spent about $30 million in measured media last year on Powerade, according to Competitive Media Reporting. However, sources said it wants to spend closer to $60 million on the brand over the next year.

The Atlanta-based beverage company has also redesigned the Powerade label as it prepares to launch additional Powerade products, including a low-calorie version, over the next few months.

Powerade went into review in late April with incumbent McCann-Erickson New York defending. Coke roster shops Cliff Freeman and Partners and Berlin/Cameron & Partners, both New York, also pitched the business.

McCann’s work for Powerade ran last year and was tagged “Keep playing.” Sources said that tagline will continue.

Powerade is the first win this year for Wieden in Portland, Ore., which also handles Diet Coke.

The account is also a much-needed jolt of advertising business in a region that has been among those hardest hit by the economic slowdown.

BCom3’s MediaVest unit continues to handle media buying for the Powerade brand.

Officials at Wieden and Coke declined to comment.